Friday, December 31, 2010

2011: New Year, New Life (?)

2011 will mark some major milestones in my life:

March 2011: David and I will welcome our first child -- a boy.
May 2011: David will turn 30.
June 2011: I will turn 30.
September 2011: David and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.
November 2011: Marks my 5th year as a licensed attorney (unfortunately, I'll be missing my 5th year reunion in April due to above mentioned baby). Of course, that still makes me the baby of our legal department, but there is something to be said for getting past the first few, really tough years of being a young attorney.

In many ways, the dawn of the second decade of the now not-so-new millennium marks Dave's and my entrance into actual adulthood. Sure, we've technically been adults for over a decade, but I'll admit that we both indulged in the extended adolescence that our society has long allowed twenty-somethings. And we've very much enjoyed all the traveling, eating out, etc. that our disposable income and lack of kids has allowed us. Am I a bit scared at the prospect of this transition? Absolutely, but I think I'm finally ready to embrace adulthood, motherhood and this new year.

But enough of the serious stuff; have a wonderful New Year's Eve and a very Happy New Year! See y'all back next week for some updates on the nursery (I swear my absence in blogland this week is due primarily to being productive!) and more design inspiration.

Photograph courtesy of Elle Canada.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'm off for the next few days enjoying some quality time with the family and some much needed R&R. I'll be back next week though with plenty of updates on the nursery (including some DIYs) as I scurry to get the room in shape before returning to work in January.


P.S. - The winner of the Bold & Noble Noah's Ark print is #19 -- Mary! Thanks to everyone who entered and congratulations, Mary! I'll be in touch about shipment later today.

*Holiday card designed by my friend Natalie, owner of the lovely stationery boutique Sicily Eason.*


Monday, December 20, 2010

I love Ruby Love's Modern Baby Books

I'll admit that I'm a big fan of documenting everything (I'm a lawyer, after all!) and I cherish the baby books my mother and grandmother made for me. But a lot of the books on the market today just strike me as a bit too cheesy, a bit too...well, babyish. Cue a random (but most welcome email) from my blogging buddy Laura over at JourneyChic a few weeks ago recommending Etsy seller Ruby Love's gorgeous baby books. Needless to say, I ordered one immediately and I love it so much I just had to pass the recommendation on to y'all. There are, of course, a lot of great baby books available on the market today, but here are a few reasons that I think Ruby Love's makes the top of my list:

1. There's a wide assortment of styles/colors to choose from -- and plenty of not-so-cutesy options that may appeal to your more sophisticated side. [By the way, if you're interested, I happened to select the "Ryland" option for myself.] Because let's face it, you're going to have to live with plenty of cartoons, and kid stuff for the next, oh, decade, so I say pick what you like now before your baby forms his or her own opinion.

2.  The books come as 3-ring albums, which means you can customize, add or subtract pages to your heart's content. I love that I'm not constricted by stupid prompts or left staring at blank pages because I didn't get around to documenting Baby Conn's first sneeze (just toss that page!). This leads me to reason #3...

3. While the standard album comes with plenty of great prompts (personal favorite includes "This Day in History", which reminds me of my Grandma saving the major headlines of the year of my birth -- something I will always treasure) and lots of blank pages for your photographs, there are loads of supplemental pages you can purchase to beef up your album and even extend it into your child's toddle hood (assuming, of course, you haven't completely abandoned documenting your child's every move out of to sheer exhaustion).

If, however, none of Ruby Love's albums strike your fancy but you're still looking for something modern and fun, I'd suggest checking out my two runners up: Baby's First Book over at Rag & Bone and the Binth Baby Book. Any of these would make a wonderful holiday or shower gift for an expectant or new mom.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Win a Bold & Noble Screen Print!

So a few weeks ago I ordered the Noah's Ark print in turquoise from English design collective Bold & Noble for the nursery. Unfortunately, they initially sent me the print in poppy red -- a great color, but definitely not what I ordered. Quick to make amends, however, B&N shipped me the turquoise version and offered to let me keep the red version for myself.

Well, of course the first thing I thought of was that I should give it away to one of my readers -- tis the season, after all! And so, if you'd like this gorgeous, hand pulled print for yourself, all you need do is leave a comment to this post (Note: please include your email address). A random winner will be selected on Wednesday, December 22. Good luck and happy weekend!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Backyard is (Finally) Finished!

Back in August I posted some pictures showing off some preliminary work we'd done to our backyard. Well, four months later I am thrilled to report that we've finally finished landscaping and that I couldn't be happier with the finished results. While we spent a huge chunk of my 2010 bonus on the yard, both Dave and I believe that we've managed to create a little something out of the ordinary, something that would set our home apart from our neighbors, and somewhere that we'd be happy to spend our spare time given that Baby Boy Conn's arrival will almost certainly mean an end to our big trips (at least for now). In short, I think it was worth the money...and the wait.

Probably the single biggest change to the yard was the extension of the patio and the construction of the pergola. We decided to go with the same brick as the house and the same paint as the trim for a seamless look and I must say that the finished product looks like it came with the house.

Our landscaper Kevin insisted that we must have pots (and big ones!) for annuals and some small citrus. Dave was hesitant initially (both because of cost and an inexplicable aversion to pots) but we found some simple, inexpensive gray pots at a local garden center that blended perfectly with the crushed granite beds and that we're both happy with. I must say that these may be my single favorite element in the design as they add both height and color around the patio.

The side entrance to the backyard has been transformed from ho-hum to something quite lovely. Note the Meyer Lemon tree on the right. I can't wait for those babies to ripen so I can use them to make some lemon pistachio cookies for the holidays! We still need to add a few pavers to the pathway (and let the grass grow back in), but come spring when the hydrangea bloom this corner of the yard will be almost magical.

We decided to erect a few screens to block the view of our red brick fence (which isn't awful, of course, but it does rather clash with the brick on our house). I love the circle motif on the screens, which echo the circular fire pit and break up all the straight lines of the fences. Vegetation is a mix of tropicals (an orchid tree, hibiscus), citrus (several orange varietals), native Texas plants, and more traditional garden plants (camilas, roses, etc.).

Absolutely love the vivid silver of the Texas sage, especially against the darker green of the rose bushes. Can you see the large planters behind the screens? They've been seeded with wildflowers and I'm looking forward to seeing what pops up this spring.

The patio extension and fire pit are flanked by six crepe myrtles, which come spring will be in full bloom through most of the summer. We've planted a few wisteria at the base of the pergola. Kevin promises that they'll quickly grow up and along the pergola, creating a wonderful canopy of violet and deep green. I love the romantic quality of wisteria -- there's something very Southern about it -- and I look forward to spending some quiet afternoons sitting outside, sipping lemonade and playing with the baby.

Ah the fire pit: Dave's big "want" that I'll admit I was a bit dubious of at first. I insisted we put it away from the house and Kevin came up with a great solution for making it blend in perfectly with the rest of the design. The low wall behind it provides excellent seating for toasting marshmallows or just sipping a beer or two. We actually built a fire on Sunday for the first time and had a lovely time sitting outside in the chilly weather enjoying the smell of burning wood (it's rather intoxicating, no?) and watching the fire. I'm having family over for Christmas Day dinner and I'm hopeful that the weather will cooperate so we can build another fire and move the party outdoors.

If you live in the greater-Houston area and your yard is in need of some serious sprucing up, I'd highly recommend Kevin Boyd (of Nature's Realm) for any sort of landscaping or hardscaping needs. He was by far the most creative landscaper we spoke with and his ideas really helped make our less-than-defined vision a reality.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Virtual Vacation: Great Smoky Mountains

Dave and I have elected to spend our Christmas vacation at home again this year, and while I welcome the opportunity to indulge in a bit of a "staycation," I can't help but wish we were sitting around a slightly more festive environment -- like, say, a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a girl who likes to "rough it". To pull a few lines from Troop Beverly Hills (a favorite movie of mine as a kid) [In reference to the Troop "camping out" at the Beverly Hills Hotel]:

Velda: "Is this what you call roughing it?"
Phyllis: "One bathroom for nine people? Yes."

And so, while I may be a fan of the Great Outdoors, I've always preferred to spend my nights in slightly more luxurious surroundings -- and I wouldn't normally consider cabins as qualifying. But in the talented hands of Atlanta designer Suzanne Kasler, this cozy English-style cabin (dubbed Toad Hall) nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee manages to be both rustic and luxe. It also happens to be the kind of place I'd love to escape to for the holidays: the perfect spot to cozy up by a big wood burning fire with the hubby, pup and a good book.

I love the warmth that the tapestry, rug and heavy curtains bring to the exposed wood walls and ceiling. The overall feeling is to reminiscent of an English country house, where the cold wood and stone walls and floors are covered with heavy fabrics and tapestries to insulate against the harsh British weather.

Decorating Tip #476: A beautiful Chinoiserie screen works anywhere, even in a log cabin. Perhaps what I love most about this cabin is that there's nary a moose head or stuffed pheasant in sight. Just goes to show you that there's no reason to slavishly adhere to "hunting lodge style" if you want to create a rustic, cabin mood.

Should you decide to invite a large group over to your winter hideaway, there's plenty of space for entertaining in the dining room. Anchoring the large table with two wingback chairs in a buttery yellow brings in a more modern touch, a nice counterbalance to the traditional dining set, candelabra and curtains. While much of the furniture and the walls are dark, plenty of light streams in from the french doors.

I'm fairly certain I'd be parked in front of this fire for much of the day, watching the snow fall outside the window while enjoying the crackle of the fire. Divine.

I love how the kitchen is both rustic and modern. The cabinetry has the look of fine furniture and the lack of upper cabinets gives the kitchen a more refined look that you might find in a dining room. Indeed, the lower cabinets resemble a buffet that just happens to have a gorgeous oven in the center of it.

Of course the master bedroom has a large stone fireplace -- all the better to snuggle up by on a cold winter's night. I love the height of the room as well, but the canopy bed keeps the feel cozy rather than cavernous. The juxtaposition of the floral fabric and the rustic walls and fireplace makes this room perfectly suited for both men and women.

This beautiful canopied bed has me simply dying to dive in it head first. Nothing like a big, fluffy duvet and a roaring fire for sleeping in over the holidays. My only question: where are the side tables and bedside lamps?! As an avid reader in bed, I'm at something of a loss to explain their absence (especially since there's clearly room around the bed for small tables).

Of course though, like any good cabin worth its salt, it's the view outdoors that's the most compelling, the most awe-inspiring. This time of year you might need a space heater and a few blankets to make this porch comfortable, but I'm sure the views across the lake would be well worth it.

Who doesn't love sitting on a rocker on the front porch chewing the fat late into the night?

The "Writer's Cottage", another guest house, is nestled between the garden and the woods beyond. I'd imagine it's exactly the sort of place a writer might go looking for some inspiration.

One of the guest houses, adorably dubbed "Tadpole Cottage".

All photographs courtesy of Suzanne Kasler and Architectural Digest.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advice for New Moms: Haven & Home

Today marks the final installment of the Advice for New Moms guest post series and I'd like to thank all the wonderful bloggers who contributed to the series and made it so informative (not to mention entertaining). We're finishing up strong today with Marianne Strong (sorry for the bad pun!) from Haven & Home and Marianne Strong Interiors. While Marianne is not yet a mother herself, she's had plenty of practice setting up both beautiful and functional nurseries for her many clients and she's graciously offered to share some of her wisdom here today.

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Hi Odi et Amo readers, I am so happy to here today! Since we do not have children yet I am not sure how much help I can be but I will give it a try. I may not have a little one yet but I do know a thing or two about a nurseries. Right now I am currently working on my 12th, 13th and 14th future baby rooms for clients. Nurseries are actually one of my favorite spaces to design, I love the idea of creating a little child's first space. These are tips I would give any soon-to-be Mom:

1. Get the big pieces taken care of first then worry about the rest. Gliders generally take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to come in so I usually keep them high on the priority list. I wish I could give you a source for inexpensive gliders that have GREAT fabric but I can't. All the fabulous gliders I have found come with a hefty price tag. So, choose a neutral fabric and add a pillow or throw for looks.

I also like to pick the crib early in the process. It can set the tone of the room and it gets the future parents excited when it is set up.

2. Just say no to changing tables. Any piece can be a changing table, look for something that you will use down the road. I personally love chests. I already know when we have kids that I will use this wood and metal potting table I found for a changing table. Don't be afraid to use items in unconventional ways.

3. Don't forget the ceiling. I don't think I have done a single nursery with a plain ceiling. It is an easy way to add visual interest. Also pay attention to lighting, it is a great excuse to use something fun and whimsical.

4. Throw in a bookcase if possible. You will receive items you want to display and I think every child's room should include books....especially by Eric Carle.

5. Don't neglect the walls. There are so many cute things out there for wall decor it can be mind boggling. Etsy is a great place to start. Another thing I have done over and over and never get sick of is framing several pages from a favorite book. Sometimes frames can get lost on a wall when floating solo. A gallery wall looks clean but still adds color.

6. Don't stress too much. It is likely your baby won't even be in his/her room for the first few weeks. Just make sure you feel at home in your babies nursery and they will too.

I hope this helped some. Congratulations to all the expectant mothers out there. I am blown away every time I see a baby by what a miracle the whole process really is. Enjoy this time in your/their life, from what I hear it flies by.


Friday, December 10, 2010

2011 Color of the Year: Honeysuckle

The powers that be over at Pantone have dubbed "Honeysuckle", a vibrant pink hue with a yellow undertone, the color for 2011. While I'd describe the color as more pink lemonade than honeysuckle (after all, a honeysuckle flower is yellow!), I do like the vibrant feminine energy the color conveys. And I have to say, given the popularity of this more adultified pink (actually, pink in general) on last fall's runways, I'm not particularly surprised. But, while it may be easy to infuse your wardrobe with a bit of on-trend pink this coming Spring, refreshing your home for 2011 may prove a bit trickier -- especially if you happen to live with a man.

This is not to say that I'm an advocate of updating your decor as often as you update your wardrobe. Not only would that be grossly wasteful (not to mention expensive), but it's also completely unnecessary given interior design's tendency to hold on to trends longer than fashion. To whit, both 2009's color of the year (mimosa) and 2010's color of the year (turquoise) are still tremendously popular colors for the home. But let's suppose you want to stay a bit ahead of the curve -- or you happen to love this color as much as I do. Then how should the reasoned decorista go about bringing a little honeysuckle into her life?

Of course, honeysuckle is the ideal wall color in a little girl's room. It's bright and pretty, but less sugary sweet than a purer bubblegum pink. I also like the idea of painting a guest room or guest bath in the color. Pinks and reds are exceptionally flattering to skin tone (just ask my sorority, which used red tents in our initiation ceremony rather than blue for precisely that reason!) and the color would look great in just about any light. While you can always have your local paint store color match a Pantone swatch, both Benjamin Moore's Florida Pink and Gypsy Rose are good options.

If you're looking to take the color out into the main areas of your house, I'd strongly suggest doing so with fabrics and/or accessories. When paired against neutral camels and khakis, honeysuckle takes on a wonderful sophistication that feels more sophisticated and gender neutral. Note how the ladies at Massucco Warner Miller kept this sitting room relatively free of pattern (save for a few fabulous throw pillows), allowing the color to take center stage. If you're going to do a pattern in this hue, I'd urge you to consider subtle tone-on-tones or, if you want to go bolder, geometrics and stripes, to counteract the femininity of the color. In short: no chintzes or toiles, unless you want your house to look like the Junior League!

The warmth of honeysuckle is the perfect compliment to warm wood tones and gilt. The overall effect here is incredibly rich and the neutral walls keep the color from feeling overwhelming. Can I also add how fabulous I think the cherry blossom runner on the stairwell is?

Finally, Honeysuckle works well as an accent color in small doses -- that one shot of bold, rich color that can absolutely make or break a room. Paired with a soft, buttery yellow or a sage green, the tone reads as very preppy and traditional. If you're looking for more modern pairings, I'd go for cooler tones of gray. For high drama, try metallics or a rich navy.

I thought I'd do some of the heavy lifting for you and pick out a few of my favorite home accessories in "the" color of 2011:

Clockwise, from top left: (1) Alpaca Throw in Melon from Serena & Lily ($148); (2) Dark Walnut Chakki upholstered in Coral Diamond from Serena & Lily ($450); (3) Charlotte Mirror from Clayton Gray Home ($950); (4) Tini Table IV in Eros Pink from Oomph ($495); (5) Pair of Button Tufted Chairs from Pieces (sold); (6) Artichoke Lamp in Stray Dog Pink from Stray Dog Designs ($625); (7) Tripoli Quilt and Shams from John Robshaw ($80-$435); (8) Ceramic Melon Knobs from Anthropologie ($8/each); (9) Pink Avenida Maze Pillows from Trina Turk ($148); (10) Translucent Venus Pendant in Pink from The Well Appointed Home ($318); (11) Kelly Two Door Lacquered Cabinet from The Well Appointed Home ($5500); and (12) Quadra Table Lamp from Weego Home ($425).


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Master Bedroom Design: Progress Report

It's been a few months now since I first posted about my plans for our master bedroom, but I promise that I didn't forget about it, despite my baby haze. In fact, real progress has been made towards achieving my initial vision and I'm excited to share the changes the room has undergone in recent weeks.

I've swapped out our queen size bed with a larger king. I selected a modern, black version of a Shaker pencil post bed from Ethan Allen to help fill up some of the vertical space in the room. I had initially considered getting the canopied version of this bed and leaving the canopy frame bare, but ultimately decided to go with the four-poster (though it can always be converted to a canopy later fairly inexpensively).

My almost all-white bedding also got traded out with far more colorful peacock dove bedding from DwellStudio. For me, this is the change that really makes the room...well, make sense. The print brings out the blue-gray of the walls, the metallic slate gray of the ceiling and even the black of the bed frame. The print's modern take on Chinoiserie helps tie in the existing Japanese woodblock art above the bed. In short, the bedding looks like I picked it out first (rather than vice versa, which I'll admit was a bit ass backward of me but no matter...) and based the entire room around it.

The other major change in this space is that I replaced the too small, matchy-matchy side tables with a larger side table and long dresser. Initially, I had planned on going with all-mirrored options, but ultimately selected these white and mirrored babies from ZGallerie's Concerto line for two big reasons: (a) I am way too type-A to not let smudged mirrors get to me -- and, let's face it, they'd inevitably get smudged, cracked, etc. with a new puppy and a baby on the way; and (b) these pieces were way, way cheaper than the ones I had initially chosen. As an added bonus, I got them in just a few short weeks instead of the typically 8-12 week lag of more expensive furniture. I was a bit concerned about quality given the relatively low price and the fact that I'd never purchased ZGallerie furniture before, but I'm happy to report that these are both very solid, well built pieces that look far more expensive than they actually were.

So what's left? Well, I still need to trade in my drab, too small 5 x 8' rug for a larger, punchier 6 x 9'. I'll still mulling over whether or not I am going to go for the Madeline Weinrib Greek key, which means I should probably keep looking to find something I love even more. I'm also in desperate need for large-scale art or a screen (or something!) for the wall across from the bed. Replacing the sleigh bed freed up more floor space as this four-poster sits tightly against the wall, so I'll also be looking for a deep bench or maybe even a small sofa for the foot of the bed. Finally, fixed drapery panels on either side of the windows will add the finishing touch to the space. Of course, I'll keep you posted, but I can't guarantee much more progress before Baby Boy Conn's arrival in early March!


Advice for New Moms: Pewter + Sage

I'm pleased to welcome Sarah of the blog Pewter + Sage as this week's guest blogger in the Advice for New Moms guest post series. Sarah is a new mom herself, having just had her sweet baby girl Maura just three short months ago. In addition to her new role as mommy, Sarah is also the owner of her own business, where she makes beautiful custom stationery for weddings and just about anything else you could think of. If you haven't checked out Maura's birth announcement yet, be sure to do so here; it's absolutely gorgeous.

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Hi! Odi et Amo is one of my favorite stops on my daily blog list, so I’m super excited and honored to be included in this Advice for New Mom series. Congratulations again to Averill and Dave! Can’t wait to meet your little guy and see his awesome nursery. I’ve only been a mom for 3 months now, our little girl Maura just turned 12 weeks on Friday! Sometimes my husband and I still look at her and think “We have a baby?!” It is an amazing feeling, a crazy ride, a tremendous blessing. My “advice” is a bit random, just some things I’ve been jotting down ever since Averill asked me if I’d like to participate. Hope it helps!

{Maura's Nursery}

If you get a chance before you give birth, go out and purchase some cute thank you notes. Maybe even take some time and put your return address and stamps on them. Trust me, you will need these once your little one arrives! I don’t think we will have to buy Maura any clothes until she is like 2 years old! Our family and friends and neighbors have been so generous and I have been writing a lot of thank you notes. You will not have much free time taking care of a newborn and anything like this that you can have done ahead of time will be a huge relief. On this same note, if you plan on sending out birth announcements, try and get as much done on those as you can too while still pregnant. Oh, and complete the nursery as much as you can. The two additional projects I decided to do in her room after she was born are still unfinished!!

I highly recommend setting up a changing and sleeping spot for the baby downstairs (if you have a 2 story home), this makes things much easier during the day. We have a hand-me down Pack ‘N Play from our friends in the living room where Maura loves to take naps. As terrible as it sounds, her downstairs changing spot is the kitchen table! And it turns out this is one of her favorite places to be, she is so happy just laying there smiling and playing with us. So, go with what works for you. You will figure out what that is as you go.

Keep all your receipts. Both for any gifts you are given (if they are smart enough to include a gift receipt) and for anything you buy for the baby yourself. A lot of stuff I thought we would want or need (even when we closed out our Babies R Us registry after she was born) I have not ended up using. This way I can take them back and put that money towards other things…like diapers!

If you are like us and want to/plan on having more kids, try to get your big ticket items (like the car seat, stroller, high chair, swing, bouncy seat, play mat) in neutral colors. This way you don’t have to get another version of everything if you are blessed with both genders.

If you are going to try breastfeeding, I highly recommend nursing tanks. I have four Gilligan and O’Malley nursing tank tops (2 white, 1 black and 1 gray) that I got at Target for $16.99. I wear one literally every day. With a cardigan (or zip up hoodie). Cardigans are my other best friend.

I know everyone has a different philosophy on sleeping but here’s my two cents. Try and get your little one to sleep in their crib at night as early as possible. Both you and the baby will get a better sleep. We planned on having Maura sleep in the new Pack ‘N Play we registered for in our room for the first few months. However, she didn’t really go for it. Figures, she likes the hand-me down one we have downstairs but not the new one we have upstairs! So, in desperation one night, we put her in the crib. And she slept fine! We could still hear her on the audio monitor (a must have) and I could still get to her quickly for the night feedings. We sleep better because we are not sitting up to peer at her and see if she is still breathing every 5 minutes and I think she sleeps better because our tossing and turning doesn’t wake her up either. Sleep is a rare commodity in the beginning, so try and get as much as you can! And trust me, it will get better.

It’s all about attitude. I learned this the hard way. Maura had colic for a few weeks (thankfully it has passed now) and it was really tough. At times I broke down and cried in her room in the middle of the night when she would not go to sleep and all I could do was count down the minutes of sleep I was losing because each second that ticked away brought me closer to the next time I would have to be awake to feed her. However, once we took her to pediatrician and she told us it was probably colic, it was much easier to deal with the crying and the sleepless nights and frustrating feelings. Once I looked at the situation differently, it was easier to face. I mean, here was this little thing, uncomfortable and not able to help herself. Completely dependent on me. For everything. The poor little baby. I’m her mom, this is what I do. This is why I’m here. So I changed the way I was looking at things. And everything got better.

Make the most of this time. Three months have gone by so quickly, I can’t believe it! I mean, this time last year I wasn’t even pregnant yet (though we were working hard at it!) and now I have a daughter! Amazing. Take lots of photos, record video, keep a journal of your baby’s milestones. Just spend time together. This is such a special time in your life, enjoy it.

If no one minds, I’d like to also offer the following “advice” for labor and delivery as this was one of the main things that I stressed out about and feared during my pregnancy:

-Go in with an open mind. (Whether you plan on delivering naturally or have decided to go with the drugs, whatever your birth plan, even if you don’t have one – stay open-minded, try to go with the flow and don’t worry if things don’t go exactly as you had envisioned. You might not react the way you thought you would to the pain, you might experience symptoms you didn’t think you would, you might be more of a warrior than you gave yourself credit for. Just do what’s best for you and your baby.)

-Expect the unexpected.

-Try to make the most of your hospital stay. Even though we looked forward to going home as a new family, I actually really enjoyed the 2 days and 3 nights we spent in the hospital after Maura was born. The nurses were so helpful; ask them as many questions as you want (they know what they are doing, we didn’t!!) Our hospital offered classes we could attend and videos we could watch; I learned a lot. We did make use of the nursery at night. I would highly suggest this, even though it’s a bit heart wrenching to see your new little one wheeled away in the bassinet for a few hours. It helps for you to get some sleep; you’ll be a better parent if you’re well rested. Even though I was exclusively breastfeeding, they had Maura on what they called an “Out on Demand” schedule at night – whenever she woke up crying and hungry they just wheeled her back to our room. I would feed and burp her and then I could call the nurse to come back and get her when we were done.

-As funny as it sounds, take as much stuff back with you from the hospital as you can!!! The large stretchy underwear they give you to wear is actually a godsend; try to steal a few pairs! Our nurses were super nice about giving us stuff to take home, they loaded us up with bag after bag of Vaseline, baby bath soap, pacifiers, diapers, pads, even formula just in case we wanted to try it. Don’t be ashamed –those first few days at home are hectic and it helps if you are not running out to Target or CVS at the last minute for something you might need.

Thanks for having me! Congratulations again to Averill and any of you out there who are also expecting!

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